Killavullen NS
Educating in a joyful, positive and secure setting

In station teaching, students and content are divided into three or more groups. Each teacher teaches one section of content and students rotate between all of the stations. Smaller group size inevitably means that students get more individual attention. It requires a great amount of planning, and timing is critical.


Aistear or learning through structured play is  a language rich hour where each child is immersed in topic specific language and is an important part of the development of the infant children, who becomes more confident as given topics are explored with their peers in a fun environment.

Over the course of a week children visit such learning stations as Drama, Junk Art, Construction, Writing and Small World in this child-led methodology.  Some topics visited this year include ‘The Farm’, ‘The Building Site’, The Opticians, The Garda Station, The Pet Shop and The Hair Salon.’

Literacy Lift Off is an intensive, station teaching intervention programme which is designed to steadily raise the complexity of what the pupils can do in both Reading and Writing. The pupils work in small groups or “stations”. At each station there is a teacher or Special Needs Assistant who leads the focused 10-minute lesson and then the adults rotate. Depending on the class size, there will be three or four stations. All pupils are assessed before they begin and assigned to a group within which they are given lots of opportunity to read books at their own level of competency to build their confidence and fluency. The Lift Off sessions are daily, from Monday to Thursday. Over the weeks, children develop their word recognition, word attack and comprehension skills, progressing to reading books of a higher level. Classes will have a block of 6 to 8 weeks of Lift Off sessions allocated to them. In our school, we believe that early intervention is the key to successful reading and writing. Therefore, the classes at the junior end of the school may get two or even three blocks of Literacy Lift Off in one school year.  

 

The programme uses specially graded “Flying Start” readers and enormous work went into the intial setup back in 2014. Thanks to the dedicated fundraising of the Parents’ Association, we were able to invest in approximately 1500 books, meaning that there is a huge selection of readers in all reading levels. We are alway sincerely grateful to our Parents’ Association for their support, where on this occasion they not only funded these very expensive books but also covered and labelled them as well! While the books are standing the test of time very well, it is essential that the readers are looked after, returned daily and not mislaid.

In all classes, there will be a “Familiar Reading” station and a “New Reading” station which use the Flying Start graded readers. The writing stations will look very different in the junior and senior end of the school. Older pupils may be focusing on the features of a certain writing genre for example, whereas for younger pupils, it could be letter formation.  The stations in the younger classes are typically as follows.

Stations

Station 1: New Reading 

Encountering new texts each day challenges the pupils to discover new ways to go beyond their current operating ability and lift their literacy processing.

Purpose: Pupils learn to use strategic activities to read new texts.

Station 2: Word Work – Dolch Words

Dolch words are a list of the most frequently used words in the English language. They are also known as “sight” words. They account for between 50-75% of all vocabulary found in primary school reading material. Pupils learn ten new Dolch words per week through focused learning tasks at this station.

Purpose: Learning to recognise them automatically by sight can facilitate fluency in reading.

Station 3: Phonics and Dictation

Pupils work through the Newell Phonics programme and build on their reading and spelling strategies. They write sentences dictated by the adult based on the phonics learning of that week.

Purpose: To improve phonetic reading and spelling, writing pace, punctuation, letter formation and presentation.

Station 4: Familiar Reading

Pupils read previously seen book under the guidance of an adult.

Purpose: Development of enjoyment, fluency, comprehension and speed.

 

We have found this programme to be very successful and beneficial to pupils of all reading abilities. We are proud to say that Literacy Lift Off is a powerful learning opportunity that all pupils of Killavullen National School get to experience.

Ready, Set, Go Maths is a numeracy programme recommended by the PDST, designed to enable children in Junior and Senior Infants to develop and consolidate their understanding of numbers through activities and interactive games. The programme focuses on 4 main areas;

  • Sorting
  • Relationships and Operations
  • Counting and Recognition
  • Understanding Numbers


Our SEN Team support the Infant Teachers to work with the pupils in the class in smaller groups. We have put a lot of time and taken great care in amassing the resources to run this programme. Children usually rotate to three or four stations with a different activity at each, focusing on the main areas above. Activities generally involve working with concrete materials and playing games.

Mata sa Rang is a fun, hands-on weekly Maths intervention programme aimed at raising children’s competency in the various aspects of the number strand. It is a teaching and learning approach whereby children actively engage in fun tasks and games specifically designed to extend children’s knowledge and understanding of number, as well as their counting and computing strategies.

Pupils are assessed and grouped according to ability before the commencement of the programme and the activities are differentiated to extend all children. The Support Teachers and Special Needs Assistants facilitate the learning activities at each station and then rotate. The activities at the various stations identify and correct misconceptions, foster more efficient computing strategies and promote rapid recall of number facts. Therefore, the programme is suitable not only for pupils who are experiencing difficulties in Maths but also for average and more able children.

By using the strategies of Mata sa Rang, children learn through the use of concrete materials and simple games. They are encouraged to think hard, discuss and solve problems in an enjoyable way and the pupils here in Killavullen National School look forward to it every week.

Maths Stations

For the senior classes, we use stations to target specific areas in line with our School Improvement Plan or based on areas of challenge for a given class based on assessment. As part of Continued Professional Development (CPD), our staff attend training to keep up to date with best practice in this area. The two most frequently used are Problem Solving Stations and Fraction Stations. Next on our agenda for CPD is Stations for the Measuring Strand.